Friday, January 4, 2019

After Work Sushi

I wanted to reward myself after being stuck at work for a Saturday morning, so I made a last-minute booking at Sushi Shin of Central the moment I left office and walked over to the restaurant once they said they could accommodate me at the sushi counter.

I have never been to the restaurant but heard good things from my friends before, so I had high expectation for this one. The place resembles just about any other sushi restaurants in town, with a long counter that can seat around 12 plus tables on the side. As I walked in 10 minutes after I called the restaurant to book, they seated me at a spot at the counter near the entrance, right before their head chef Kamitachi Izuru.

The lunch menu came with 3 different options, from the basic one that came with 10 pieces of nigiri sushi to the full-fledge omakase menu which included sashimi, grilled items plus sushi. I decided to go with the middle ground (Kuwamizu course) with 12 pieces and Chef Kamitachi-san began to prepare by pulling out the ingredients from the wooden box in the refrigerator underneath the counter, while I started with my appetizers, which were a small pieces of octopus (tako) and then steamed egg custard (chawanmushi). I especially liked the tako, braised to perfect tenderness with a touch of the sweet sauce brushed on top and baby sansho leaf.

My sushi course soon followed, starting with milder pieces working through to the richer ones towards the end. For the first few ones, Shimaji was the one I particularly liked, with the hint of sweetness balanced with acidity. Moving on to a few richer pieces, the tsubugai (sea whelk) was solid with a good bite, and I loved the ebodai (butterfish) for a mild oily flavor combined with a firm texture. A couple tuna pieces were served, first the o-toro served with 3 small slices placed on top of each other, then the akami-zuke after spending a few minutes in the soy marinate. When I saw Chef Kamitachi brushed a transparent dressing on top before serving, I asked him what that was. Turned out it was soy sauce, which added to the slightly salty flavor with hint of umami. That was brilliant.

Iwashi (sardine) probably got the award of the prettiest piece, with the chef carefully removed the bones from the small fish, then the fillet was sliced across the body and served with a few pieces on top of the shari (rice). I love the fatty taste of the piece, with a dab of green onions paste on top. Uni (sea urchin) was another interesting piece, served as nigiri rather than gunkan style as most of the chef do right after the piece of buri (wild yellowtail). Tongues of shiro-uni (white sea urchins) were sandwiched between fresh kelp, and before serving, some white powders were dusted on top. “Snow” was what Chef Kamitachi told me when I asked what that was – sure it looked like one, but he later explained it was mochi powder which did add to the overall texture.

More toro was served before the end of the course, this time in the form of hand-roll. Then 2 half-pieces of sea eel (anago) – one done steamed and blowtorched and one steamed, grilled and brushed with tare sauce – were served, followed by 2 pieces of eggs – one baked and one softer in a custard-like texture. There was a choice of dessert, and my sesame icecream served in monaka was lovely, and worked as a perfect ending of a great meal that lifted up my spirits.

When? December 15 2018
Where? Sushi Shin, 12/F, 18 On Lan Street, Central, Hong Kong

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